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Survey shows modest improvement among Minnesota students

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Students in the Perham-Dent school district feel safe in their school and home, and some older students believe that their peers' use of alcohol is a problem, according to the results of the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey.

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An interagency team from the Minnesota Departments of Education, Health, Human Services and Public Safety released results from the survey, which is a voluntary and anonymous survey taken by Minnesota students in grades six, nine and 12. The 2010 Student Survey was administered during the spring of 2010.

According to Tamara Uselman, superintendent of the Perham-Dent school district, 77 percent of Perham sixth graders believe that alcohol use is not a problem with their peers, compared with 38 percent of 12th graders.

"We're looking for a pattern in the survey results, and that alcohol pattern is bothersome," Uselman said. "Not only do the results say that alcohol use goes up as students get older, but that they also believe it's a problem."

According to the survey results, there is not much use of tobacco among students, Uselman said. Very few students reported using drugs.

In general, however, "you see a pattern of experimentation as students get older," Uselman said.

The survey asked questions about tobacco, alcohol and other drug use and attitudes, sexual behaviors, dietary behaviors, physical activity, violence and other topics.

Statewide results

Statewide survey trends included:

• Seniors reporting they plan to attend college increased to 88.9 percent, compared to 85.8 percent in 2007.

• Seniors reporting they were physically active on five or more days in the past week increased from 41.4 percent in 2007 to 43.4 percent in 2010.

• Students reporting across all grades that they always used seatbelts increased between 2007 and 2010 -- from 66.5 percent to 72.1 percent for sixth graders; from 58.3 percent to 66.5 percent for ninth graders and from 62 percent to 71.3 percent for 12th graders.

• Seniors reporting they used alcohol in the past year decreased from 62.5 percent in 2007 to 55.3 percent in 2010. Ninth graders reporting they used alcohol dropped to 31.1 percent, down from 37.2 percent in 2007.

• Seniors reporting they binge drink (five or more drinks in a row during the past two weeks) decreased to 23.4 percent from 29 percent. Ninth graders reporting they binge drink dropped from 12.5 percent to 9.5 percent.

• Seniors reporting they used marijuana in the past year decreased to 30.6 percent, compared to 30.8 percent in 2007.

More statewide results are available at www.education.state.mn.us.

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